Saturday 01 November – River Avon boat trip

 A nearly full boatload of 37 members and guests were treated to fabulous weather and some great sights (birding and otherwise) on this trip. From the first Cormorant fishing in the harbour as we set sail from the ss ‘Great Britain’ ferry stop to the six Curlew on the sand bar opposite the tiny lighthouse at the entrance to the River Severn we were kept interested and sometimes entertained by the birds on view and also by Ed’s informative commentary. While we waited in the lock to leave the Floating Harbour we began to see the first of at least 20 Jays which seemed to be flying from Ashton Court to Clifton and back, presumably having found a food source to stock up their larders for winter. Both Pied and Grey Wagtails were seen, along with a full complement of the standard corvids of the area including a single Rook as we came back under the Suspension Bridge. A family group of five Ravens were soaring over the M5 bridge and another was seen harassing a Buzzard above Sea Walls. The main highlight was the wonderful display by a pair of Peregrines over Sea Walls, including a half-hearted attempt at chasing some pigeons before following us back towards the Suspension Bridge and giving us one final view while we returned through the lock to the harbour. This was nearly matched by the Grey Heron roost on the river bank at Horseshoe Bend (eleven including two perched in the trees). It was good to see the waders on the mud banks which are normally out of sight from the footpaths, ranging from a single Greenshank, through a handful of Common Sandpipers to one flock of about 120 Redshank on the return journey. The Lapwing also gave a colourful display with the sun showing off the iridescent colours of their plumage. A total of 30 species were seen.Thanks to Ed Drewitt for leading. Keith Williams